RICHMOND, VA - Virginia's public and private sectors are partnering on an initiative to increase the use of electric vehicles in the state, Governor Bob McDonnell announced June 16.

Working together, state and local government entities, fleets, universities, utilities, civic organizations, vehicle manufacturers, and businesses are represented in the Virginia electrification effort with Virginia Clean Cities through the Rocky Mountain Institute's Project Get Ready. During his campaign, McDonnell made transportation and innovative energy issues a priority, including emphasis on transportation fuel alternatives like natural gas and electricity as well as increased efficiency and smarter use of traditional energy sources such as oil.   

Even before the U.S. release of electric vehicles late this year from major manufacturers, Virginia fleets currently have 35 electric vehicles through conversions and purchases from niche manufacturers, according to a statement from the governor's office. Virginia already has one free access charging station available at the New Kent rest stop on Interstate 64.

The Virginia "Get Ready" plan will be refined in the coming months. Government representation in the effort includes the Virginia Secretary of Transportation, the state Department of Mines Minerals and Energy, the Department of General Services, the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Motor Vehicle Dealer Board, the US Department of Energy and Clean Cities program, Virginia Clean Cities, Fairfax County, Arlington County, Richmond, Henrico, Chesterfield , James Madison University, and the University of Virginia.

Utility representation includes Dominion Power and Old Dominion Electric Cooperative. Civic involvement includes Electric Vehicle Association of Washington DC, Richmond STIR, the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association, and Virginia Clean Cities. Business representation includes Nissan, Ford, Smith Electric Vehicles, the Advanced Vehicle Research Center, Richmond Segway, Evatran, Plugless Power, Aker Wade, Kollmorgen, Coulomb, and Encell.

Based on likely adoption predictions, infrastructure and vehicle efforts will be initially targeted for the specific regions of Northern Virginia, Charlottesville, Richmond, and Hampton Roads, according to McDonnell.